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South Sudan aims to hold an oil licensing round by the end of the first quarter next year, inviting oil companies to participate in the tender for 14 oil exploration blocks in one of the newest countries in the world.
“We are inviting all our investors that wanted to invest in South Sudan to come and move on to those blocks,” South Sudan’s Oil Minister Awow Daniel Chuang said at the Africa Oil & Power conference on Tuesday, as carried by Reuters.
South Sudan broke from Sudan in 2011 and took with it around 350,000 bpd in oil production. However, the only export oil pipeline out of landlocked South Sudan passes through its neighbor to the north, Sudan.
But then civil war in South Sudan broke out in 2013 that further complicated oil production. The oil price crash the following year additionally affected oil income and oil production in South Sudan.
South Sudan is still struggling to return to the level of oil production of 350,000 bpd that it had at the start of this decade, after the civil war and the oil price crash nearly halved its oil output.
South Sudan’s government and rebels signed a power-sharing agreement in September 2018. Oil production at some oil fields that were shut in at the start of the conflict has resumed, and the country targets to return to pre-civil war production levels of 350,000 bpd—up from 180,000 bpd now—by the end of 2020.
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Just two months ago, South Sudan said that it had made its first oil discovery since declaring independence back in 2011.
“The South Sudanese leadership is conscious that oil is their only door, at the moment, for economic stability,” NJ Ayuk, CEO at Centurion Law Group and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, wrote in an editorial for Africa Oil & Power this week.
“But further, they understand that expanding their oil production is the way towards a brighter future and that, for that to happen, they must lure investors with an attractive business environment and investment security,” Ayuk said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.